Monday 7 June 2010

A Secret Life (1995) by Marianne Faithfull

It's not every songwriter who'd choose to book-end an album of original songs with a little verse by Dante and Shakespeare. But then Marianne Faithfull has seldom lacked for chutzpah, and clearly has few qualms about presenting her co-written compositions alongside this classic material on A Secret Life, the 1995 album on which she collaborated with Angelo Badalamenti. I've wanted to hear A Secret Life for some time and finally got around to listening to it recently. It's an erratic work with - as per usual on Faithfull albums - one truly terrible track ("The Wedding," here). But with Faithfull intoning spookily over Badalamenti’s atmospheric soundscapes, the album casts a spell. The tracks I've returned to most are the adulterer’s anthem “Love in the Afternoon” and the lushly romantic “The Stars Line Up.” And “Sleep” - below - a song well used in Patrice Chereau’s excellent Son Frere (2003).


  1. Fifteen years after its release, and countless sleepless nights with nothing but its company, i have come to the conclusion that this is my most favorite album of all times. Glad you have discovered it too, though so many years after its original release.

  2. Yes, it's a really interesting and unusual piece of work. Do you like any of Faithfull's other albums. I'm fond of Vagabond Ways and parts of Before the Poison. And Broken English, of course.